Your last family get-together was frustrating. It wasn’t because of family crisis (this time). No, the problem was that you couldn’t hear anything over the loud noise of the room. So you didn’t get the opportunity to ask about Dave’s new kitten or Sally’s new career. And that was really irritating. Mostly, you blame the acoustics. But you can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that maybe your hearing is starting to fail.
It’s not generally recommended to self diagnose hearing loss because it’s extremely challenging to do. But there are some early warning signs you should keep on your radar. When enough red flags appear, it’s time to make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.
Hearing loss’s early signs
Not every sign and symptom of hearing loss is noticeable. But you may be experiencing hearing loss if you can connect with any of the items on this list.
Some of the most common early signs of hearing impairment may include:
- You find that some sounds become oppressively loud. You may or may not encounter this but if you do, keep in mind that it can be an early warning of hearing loss. If particular sounds become unbearably loud (particularly if the problem doesn’t go away in short order), that could be an early hearing loss indicator.
- You often need people to repeat what they said. This is particularly true if you’re asking multiple people to slow down, say something again, or speak up. This early sign of hearing loss may be occurring without you even noticing.
- You have a difficult time following conversations in a crowded or noisy place. This is frequently an early indication of hearing loss.
- Your ears are ringing: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other noises too: humming, buzzing, screeching, thumping, and so on). Tinnitus isn’t always related to hearing problems, but it is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, so a hearing exam is probably needed.
- You discover it’s hard to understand particular words. This symptom happens when consonants become difficult to hear and differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. But another common example is when the “s” and “f” sounds get mixed up.
- It’s suddenly very difficult to understand phone calls: People do a lot of texting nowadays, so you may not talk on the phone as much as you used to. But you may be experiencing another early warning sign if you’re having trouble understanding the calls you do take.
- A friend points out that your media devices are getting progressively louder. Maybe you keep cranking up the volume on your mobile phone. Or maybe, your TV speakers are maxed out. Usually, it’s a family member or a friend that points out the loud volumes.
- You have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds. Maybe you find your tea kettle has been whistling for five minutes but you didn’t notice it. Or maybe, you never even hear the doorbell ringing. Hearing loss generally affects specific frequencies normally higher pitched frequencies.
Get a hearing test
No matter how many of these early red flags you may experience, there’s really only one way to know, with confidence, whether your hearing is going bad: get a hearing test.
You may be dealing with hearing loss if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms. And if any impairment you may have, a hearing examination will be able to identify how far gone it is. Once we discover the degree of hearing loss, we can figure out the best course of treatment.
This will help you have a much more enjoyable time at that next family get-together.